Produce: Squash

Squash can be the perfect addition to any winter or summer meal, but comes in so many shapes, sizes, and flavors. We'll take you beyond the butternut with this guide to winter and summer squash!

-Squash comes in all colors, shapes, and sizes, from green to orange to yellow to round oblong to, well, almost any shape. Squash is a seasonal favorite known for its many flavors and textures. From acorns to zucchinis, let us show you how to select, store, and prepare your perfect seasonal squash. All squash fall under two categories--summer squash and winter squash. Summer squash has a thinner edible skin. When choosing summer squash, select squash that is heavy for its size with firm feel and even texture. Zucchini have a mild, fresh flavor and crisp texture. The best zucchini will be smaller in size, have a firm, even texture, and a heavy feel. Zucchini can be eaten raw as a snack or in salads or cooked skin on in casseroles or stir-fries. Yellow squash look a lot like zucchini with pale yellow rind, flesh, and seeds. The whole squash has a sweet, nutty flavor and can be eaten, seeds and all. The pattypan squash has a very distinct shape with a fat center and scalloped edges. It can be green, white, or yellow, and tender enough to be eaten raw, but is great roasted and served as a seasonal side dish. Winter squash are usually harvested in the late fall and have a thick, inedible rind. Look for firm skin that is brightly colored and free of any spots. They can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months which is why they're traditionally eaten in the winter. Let's take a look at the top 5 varieties. Butternut squash are a common variety of squash found in supermarkets. Butternuts range from 2 to 5 pounds, have a beige skin, and a dark orange body. Their sweet, nutty taste are perfect roasted or in soup. Delicata squash is an heirloom variety, sometimes also called peanut squash. It is one of the tastier winter squashes with a thin, edible skin. Spaghetti squash is a small, watermelon-shaped variety with a golden-yellow rind. Unlike most squash, the bigger and brighter in color, the better, and more flavorful squash. Acorn squash is a favorite baking variety squash named for its shape. Acorn squash have a distinct ribbing pattern and a dark green or golden-yellow color and makes a sweet winter squash dish when baked with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pumpkins are a fall favorite, perfect for carving and baking so make sure you choose wisely. Carving pumpkins are grown for size, color, and have a flat bottom. Pie pumpkins are smaller, firmer, sweeter, and generally better for, well, making pie. Winter squash's thick skin and odd shape can make it difficult to cut. First, use a heavy chef's knife and insert the tip to make a shallow cut in the skin. Then, place the blade in the shallow cut and tap gently on the top of the knife until the squash is cut through. Finally, scrape out the seeds with a large spoon. You can roast squash in your oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour and serve with butter and brown sugar for a delicious seasonal dish. Whether steamed, baked, stuffed, or pureed, squash is incredibly nutritious and super easy to store and prepare. From grilled summer zucchini to harvest pumpkins, the right squash makes a perfect addition to any harvest meal.